Language development in hearing-impaired children - Establishment of a reference material for a 'Language test for hearing-impaired children', LATHIC  

Erik Borg1, Arne Risberg2, Robert McAllister, Britt-Marie Undemar4, Gertrud Edquist5, Anna-Clara Reinholdson6, Anna Wiking-Johnsson7 & Ursula Willstedt-Svensson8

1 AhlsÚn Research Institute, Írebro Medical Centre Hospital, S- 701 85 Írebro, Sweden and Írebro University
2 Dept. of Speech, Music and Hearing and Centre for Speech Technology, Royal Institute, Stockholm
4 Child and youth habilitation for deafness and hearing impairments, Írebro
5 Dept. of Speech Pathology, Mora hospital, Mora
6 Child health clinic, Partille
7 Dept. of Speech Pathology, Danderyd Hospital, Danderyd
8 Dept. of Speech Pathology, Lund University Hospital, Lund

International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 65: 15-26.


Objective: In Sweden, there has previously been no normalised test material for the evaluation of language development in individual hearing-impaired children, and for the assessment of various methods of auditory habilitation. The purpose of the present study was to compose, apply and evaluate a test for language development in hearing-impaired children, and to establish the first set of reference values related to age, sex, type and degree of hearing impairment.
Methods: A test consisting of nine subtests was assembled and developed for, and subsequently applied to, hearing-impaired children in the age range 4-6 years. The inclusion criteria were a pure tone average of 80 dBHL or less and oral language (Swedish) as the first language. 211 hearing-impaired children and 87 normal hearing control children were tested.
Results: The results show that 1) children with hearing impairment - also unilateral - have a delayed language development; 2) the delay is greater in children with larger losses and tends to decrease with increasing age; 3) six-year-olds with hearing loss greater than 60 dB have not reached the level of the control group; 4) no difference between right sided or left sided deafness with respect to language development was observed; 5) a reference material, applicable during clinical assessment, was established for the most common types of hearing impairment.
Conclusions: The test designed gave graded measures of important aspects of language development in hearing-impaired children. The results merit further application of the test material

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